Middle East & North Africa (MENA)

Female Genital Mutilation… EU resolute to end this torture!

06/02/2019 - 09:54

“One day they come and get you in groups. I was the oldest one. I remember it as if it were yesterday. There were at least six persons on me, because I was imploring, I didn’t want to. I was convinced that I would die. I was 9 years old…”, one victim relates. The pain… the horror… more than 200 million females across the world – women, girls, infants alike - have, like this victim, suffered the torture of female genital mutilation, including 500,000 in Europe. The EU is at the forefront of global efforts to end female genital mutilation by 2030. Female genital mutilation is a crime in all EU Member States, and this year we have seen the first convictions of persons that conducted this criminal practice.

Female Genital Mutilation, Spotlight Initiative

On International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation the EU reaffirmed its strong commitment to eradicate worldwide female genital mutilation. "Every girl and woman has the right to live a life free of violence and pain", stated the EU. "Female genital mutilation is a severe violation of human rights and of women’s physical integrity. It is a practice that amounts to torture and a degrading treatment that cannot be justified. Neither on the basis of custom, nor tradition, culture or religion," the EU stressed.

This traumatic act is usually performed by a family member, a neighbour or even a health professional. Fatima asked her grandmother why they cut girls, and she was told "Because of the men - they want it. Ask your grandfather." But, when she asked him the same question, the reply came back instantly "Don’t ask me – it’s women who want it."

The European Union has supported partner countries in criminalising this harmful practice, and is committed to do even more. Over the past 10 years, the EU has achieved important milestones on this topic.

The EU and the UN have launched the global Spotlight Initiative, which aims to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls, including female genital mutilation, child marriages and other harmful practices against women.


Female Genital Mutilation, Spotlight Initiative


Thanks to the European Union, cooperation with UNICEF, UNFPA and civil society organisations, about 3.3 million women and girls have accessed protection and prevention services.

More than 20,000 community groups in Africa have publicly called for the elimination of genital mutilation. Supported by a strong partnership between the European Union, the African Union and champion African states, 12 African countries have put in place national budget lines to end the practice. 


Regional and national networks of religious organisations are also in place in the Arab states to counteract the practice.

The European Union remains committed to the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which addresses female genital mutilation through its Goal number 5 on Gender Equality"We remain committed to do everything in our power to eliminate this criminal practice," the EU concluded.


#EndFGM #Womenmatter


Main image : ©Flickr/ciadefoto.wordpress.com